After reviewing modifications from the former planning director, the planning and zoning commission approved revisions Monday (June 20) to the town’s agriculture regulations.
The PZC had been looking at changes to encourage more farms on smaller properties and the regulations mainly address the location of structures for animals and other uses on smaller properties.
The PZC hosted a public hearing on proposed revisions last month.
Small farm owners and the chairman of the town’s agriculture committee raised concerns that the revisions did not go far enough to promote small farms.
They specifically said set-back requirements for associated structures and limits on the number of animals on smaller properties were too restrictive.
Former Planning Director Gregory Padick recommended some modifications to the draft during the PZC’s June 9 meeting.
The PZC approved revisions with Padick’s modifications Monday, with commission member JoAnn Goodwin being the lone dissenter. Goodwin made no comment Monday, but said June 9 the regulations were too restrictive.
She said farm-related structures should be subject to the same restrictions as other structures.
PZC Chairman Rudy Favretti said at that time the commission needed a starting point and could always revise them again.
The new regulations allow farms to place produce stands and other seasonal retail outlets smaller than 300 square feet as close as 15 feet from the road.
They also include set-back requirements for manure piles, stables and outside keeping areas of at least 60 feet from any neighboring front property lines, 100 feet from any side or rear lots and keeping the 75-foot minimum buffer from any wells.
Portable enclosures for small animals and buildings up to 200 square-feet are exempt from the new agriculture regulations.
Those are subject to existing regulations for small structures in residential zones.
The regulations include waivers or reductions when abutters are notified and approve of any smaller setbacks. Waivers can also be approved when the property borders another farm, undeveloped property or a site where human-occupied buildings and yards are far enough away. They include a section regulating the number of animals allowed on properties with fewer than 5 acres of farmable land.
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